Update on Kiva Loans

Partner David standing in front of some of his existing plantain trees

Partner David standing in front of some of his existing plantain trees

Late in July we closed a plantain loan on Kiva, a microlending platform that supports entrepreneurs and projects in the developing world. The $6,000 loan will cover the costs of a plantain project with our partner David, including seed stock, fertilizer, fencing materials, and technical assistance.

This latest one closes out our round of seven plantain loans, all with our smallholder and Indigenous partners in Panama. We are already starting to harvest plantains from project funded with our 2013 loans, and look forward to hopefully renewing an agreement with Kiva to continue doing these high-impact projects.

With our remaining credit line, we plan to fundraise on Kiva for longer term timber projects, that will deliver more revenue and opportunity for our Panamanian partners.

We took this set of videos to demonstrate the process of seeding the plantains in the nursery prior to planting.

Arimae in the News for Forest Carbon Inventory Project

Arimae and its forest reservation were recently featured in a blog and a video feature related to forest monitoring. Planting Empowerment supports the building of this skill set within the community as a manner to generate better land management planning.

The blog through written by the Environmental Defense Fund, Organization of Embera and Wounaan Youth of Panama, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute describes the forest monitoring training and data collection that took place in early April. It was the first of many training and data collection plots that would be done through Indigenous Territories throughout eastern Panama. The results of the data collection and training process will probably be presented at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference being held later this year in Lima, Peru.

The UN-REDD program of Panama released this video of a different type of forest monitoring that was executed in Arimae’s forest reserve. The video includes a number of interviews with members of the Arimae community with whom Planting Empowerment has collaborated with for a number of years. The video also includes some interesting filmography done from a drone which shows some great shots of the community and the deforestation that is taking place in their reserve.

We’re encouraged to see this type of activity happening in Arimae’s collective lands because they help the community conserve its remaining, but dwindling, forest reservation.

Updates in Pictures

Our Operations Manager Mateo Johnson took some shots of our plantain operations over the past few weeks. Here we publish some of our favorites.


Panama's Alliance for 1 Million Plan and What the Forestry Law Needs

Panama's Alliance for 1 Million Plan and What the Forestry Law Needs

Last week ANCON (Panama’s Association for the Conservation of Nature), the Panama Association for Reforestation (ANARAP), and the Panama Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture (CCIAP) announced a 20-year project called the "Alliance for One Million".

The vision of the project is to reforest or afforest one million hectares of forest in Panama, strengthening Panama's forest sector, helping the country meet its CO2 emission goals, and helping to meet the goals laid out in Panama's National Forestry plan.

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10,000 Plantains and Counting

A worker harvests plantains with a machete

A worker harvests plantains with a machete

We recently surpassed 10,000 plantains sold from our operations in Darien. Typically they are sold by the racimo, or bunch, for between $3-$7, usually within one of the communities where we work.

Harvesting is hard work, consisting of cutting the racimo off the plantain stalk, hauling it to the collection point, and loading them into sacks for transport to the nearby communities. 

Plantain production should continue to scale through the rest of 2014, with harvests from the Kiva-funded plantain projects starting around September. While sales and plantain prices in the communities have been steady, we're developing relationships with small supermarkets and co-ops in the area to be able to move large quantities of plantains with better pricing.